Today, I’m reading chapter 8 in Dan Allender’s book Sabbath. He writes,
Hope extends us beyond our current moment of suffering to imagine a time in which our deepest desire is not only satisfied but taken beyond our wildest dreams.
He distinguishes between lesser dreams that can be achieved through work (i.e. saving to buy a sailboat) and dreams that require us to labor. Work is what we do by the hour, the completion of a task for compensation. Labor seeks to create a connectedness to someone for something greater than mere compensation. “Labor,” he writes,
calls us to risk our dreams without much control to create something that goes beyond what we can imagine. It is labor, not work, that we hate. We prefer to kill the hope of what labor may bring forth rather than to risk so much for possibly so little.
I really see that struggle, the struggle of hating labor and preferring work very present now. My job requires me to labor– I’m seeking a goal that is beyond what I can imagine and that cannot be completed. Ever. I think this is why I find myself longing to go back to school. School was work. It had a clear start and finish. At the beginning of every semester, I got a piece of paper telling me exactly what was required and when. These tasks, though challenging and often worthwhile, were work. And I knew, for better or worse, come December 15th, this class would be over. And I would have progressed. Because I am now laboring after a dream that God has, my job does not have this kind of neatness or closure. I think I find so much satisfaction in laundry and doing the dishes because they are tasks with clear objectives that I can complete. I can be in control. Doing the dishes is satisfying and it requires no risk. It also brings no joy.
I think God has called me (and you) into lives of risk in pursuit of joy as we run after the Story He is speaking. On paper, that sounds great. But in the day to day, it is labor.
I also think that the promise is beyond our imagination– And though it is hard, the hope of that is worth holding onto. It makes me think of the line from the Lady Antebellum song, “Guess I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all…” Somewhere deep, somewhere more foundational than my tiredness and my churning emotions is the conviction that it is better to be alive and feeling than numb. It is better to hope than to despair. A risky and unfulfilled hope is much better than a numb disillusionment.